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Udderbelly Festival

Our guide to the south bank's summer-long comedy, cabaret and circus festival

What is the Udderbelly Festival?

Ever wondered what that giant purple cow grazing behind the London Eye is? It's the Udderbelly! Each summer the 400-seat temporary venue provides a vast array of entertainment, from outlandish cabaret to daytime children's shows and the biggest selection of comedy in London.

Beside the big moo is a large outdoor bar and selection of upmarket food stalls which can be enjoyed without a ticket. Plus, next to the upturned cow is another temporary venue – the London Wonderground – a huge spiegel tent playing host to circus, cabaret and much more. What better way to spend the summer?

When is the Udderbelly Festival?

The Udderbelly Festival runs April 7-July 17 2016.
The London Wonderground runs from May 5-September 25 2016.

What sort of thing can I expect?

People telling jokes and being funny, more or less. Pus lots of circus and cabaret acts. Don't believe us? Here's a highlights package from Time Out Live's opening gala in 2013.

Tickets for this year's Udderbelly Festival are available online here or by phoning 08445 458252.

To get to the Udderbelly Festival, take the Bakerloo, Northern or Jubilee line to Waterloo, take the south bank exit, follow signs to the Southbank Centre, turn left just before Hungerford Bridge and you'll see the Udderbelly on your left in Jubilee Gardens.

Udderbelly Festival's address is: Jubilee Gardens, off Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX.

See the best of Udderbelly 2016

Paul Zerdin – Spongefinger

Ventriloquist Paul Zerdin has long been a favourite on the UK comedy circuit, and is a regular on the 'Royal Variety Show'. But now he's a full-blown US star, having won 'America's Got Talent' last year, and performing headline shows in glitzy Las Vegas. In his new show, 'Spongefinger', he'll probably be joined by his usual sponge sidekicks Sam, OAP Albert and Baby for a slick hour of slick, sharp gags.

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Watford Colosseum , Central Watford Saturday October 22 2016

Foil, Arms and Hog – Skiddlywup

This Irish sketch trio are hugely charming, very silly and have a big following at the Edinburgh Fringe. They've also wowed audiences online, clocking up more than four million hits on YouTube. See them in the flesh at Udderbelly.

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Udderbelly , South Bank Friday July 8 2016

Knightmare Live!

'Welcome, watchers of illusion, to the castle of confusion.' Yep, the slapstick stage show version of the iconic kids' TV show takes up residency at the Udderbelly. There's no CGI realm here, rather some shambolic sets and costumes, but it's mighty fun to both play and observe, with Tom Bell making a brilliant Lord Fear. It always sells out, so book soon.

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Udderbelly , South Bank Until Sunday July 10 2016

Comedy In The Dark

Exactly what it says on the tin, this. Comedians perform in total darkness. If they use the fact that the audience can't see what they're up to it can be a hoot. If they just perform their usual sets, well, it's sort of just like listening to the radio.

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Udderbelly , South Bank Monday July 11 2016

Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho

Critics' choice

Matt Tedford's cross-dressing version of the Iron lady was a huge hit at the Edinburgh Fringe. Watch as Mags gets lost in London's notoriously saucy Soho on the eve of the vote for Section 28, and accidentally becomes a cabaret sensation. It's a riotous romp.

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Southbank Centre , South Bank Friday July 15 2016
The best of Udderbelly 2016


Adrian H
Adrian H Tastemaker

At certain times, the outdoor area of London’s Wonderland and Udderbelly festival feels a little more cattle-pen than rolling pastures. That being said, there’s always a pleasant feel and an eclectic clientèle grazing on waffles, burgers, pizza, hot dogs, curry and quaffing Pimm’s, pints, Prosecco and other liquid delights. As the sun goes down and the crowds move into the depths of the purple cow arena or the Spiegeltent, there is little alteration to the buzzing atmosphere as the speakers blare out nostalgic summer tunes and people settle in for the evening with brimming pitchers. The busiest area is of course in the shadow of the looming purple udders around the main bar, however there are plenty of areas to tuck yourself away among the trees and twinkling fairy lights.